2020 has seen an explosion in home working and people around the world using collaboration tools to make their jobs easier.
One of the biggest quirks of COVID-19 driven work and lifestyle changes from our perspective has been the wonderment that so many people were still doing things the old way.
What do you mean you did not work from home if this was possible anyway?
You have seriously just figured out Zoom and Skype and what they do? I mean, they are both great tools but come on, it is not like they are at the forefront of technological and collaborative innovation!
We are not even going to talk about people who still send documents via email and start CC and endless “Reply to all” chains
Still, if digital collaboration is new for how you work, you should make sure you are using the best tools available. Here are five of our favourite tools to keep your work collaborative, high-quality, and productive.
1. Slack - Communication
Slack is an exceptional collaboration and communication tool. It is essentially a chat platform, but with useful features like setting your status and “Do Not Disturb” mode for the times you need to work distraction-free.
As well as sending direct messages to other individuals, you can use Slack to create specific groups of teams or even to communicate with clients. We even use Slack as a customer service tool for some of our experienced users! Why not join our Slack community to get fast support and be the first to learn about exciting new features as we add them?
If you are working on the move, the Slack mobile app is slick and intuitive. Just remember to turn mobile notifications off if you are in a busy group chat!
As well as one to one and group chat, you can conduct voice or video calls in Slack and share files. However, ideally, you should look at a cloud file sharing and collaboration platform for the latter function.
Slack has a limited free option or three paid subscription tiers. Our favourite thing about Slack? You can integrate it with Contractbook for even easier collaboration!
2. Quip - Document collaboration
Naturally, we think you should be using Contractbook for all your document collaboration needs.
However, if you are not going to use Contractbook, or want somewhere to deal with documents that are not contracts, you could do a lot worse than take a look at Quip. Not only is it loaded with features that make it ideal for collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, and even to do lists, it comes embedded with Salesforce, putting a wealth of integrations and other benefits at your fingertips. If you aren’t a Salesforce user, then you can use Quip as a standalone product all the same.
Quip also has a sleek and easy to use app, and while there are no free subscription plans the low costs they offer represent exceptional value.
3. Trello - Project management
We briefly mentioned Jira in a recent article looking at Scaled Agile Framework, but it’s another Atlassian product, Trello, that gets our vote when it comes to choosing a project management platform.
With a user friendly interface and intuitive operation, it is a straightforward platform to get started with and introduce your team to. However, it is when you dig deeper and check out all the features you get when upgrading to a paid plan that Trello really comes to life.
The Butler feature, in particular, is fantastic both for keeping you sane and driving the productivity of your teams. No longer do you need to follow up on team members or remind them of approaching deadlines, your Trello Butler does that for you!
Other features such as the calendar view and enhanced security mean you can easily collaborate and share boards with those who need to see them, while ensuring the integrity of any data you share on the platform.
Trello is free forever with limited features, but paid subscriptions are exceptional value for what you get. You can integrate Trello with Contractbook, too, as well as over 100 other apps!
4. Clockify - Time tracking
Many people still hold a misconception that time tracking software is primarily used for people in leadership roles who want to micromanage their teams. No doubt, there are people out there using them for this purpose, but it is their collaborative features where the biggest benefits are to be found.
Our favourite tool in that regard is Clockify, which is free forever for a basic plan but loaded with useful features if you have the budget to pay for a premium plan. If you’re working on projects as part of a remote team, you can use Clockify to accurately track the time being spent either on the project overall or specific aspects of your workload. This can be essential for ensuring you bill clients correctly, as well as helping you identify bottlenecks in your processes and provide solutions to your team. What is more collaborative than that?!
Check out our recent article listing our top 10 time tracking platforms for other options.
5. Contractbook - Contract collaboration and lifecycle management
Yes, we are going to talk about ourselves, but this is not just a shameless plug!
First, a little about what we offer. Contractbook is a collaboration platform enabling you to create better contracts and more productively manage and optimise the lifecycle of those contracts. Whether you are a SaaS business like ourselves and want to centralise your client contracts in one place, or a lawyer dealing with various legal agreements, we can help you do it better.
In addition to offering a range of free templates and comprehensive contract editor, you can also use Contractbook to have clients sign contracts online. Before you reach that stage, our tool will also help you collaborate to finalise the wording of contracts or negotiate specific terms and conditions. Once everything is completed and signed, you can store your agreements securely and access it easily whenever it is due for review or renewal.
Via Zapier, you can also connect Contractbook to over 2,000 apps!
Contractbook offers a free plan as well as a variety of paid subscription tiers.
The benefits of Contractbook, and how we want you to use the tool, are built on the foundation of our business culture. We are a distributed company with a focus on flat hierarchies. Our people can work anywhere they like, and we believe success comes from collaborative excellence rather than one or two “superstar players.” We hope that using Contractbook helps your business to collaborate in a similar way.
Earlier this year, we wrote about our culture for Forbes, and how the hugely successful Golden State Warriors NBA team inspired this approach.
If you are not collaborating, you are falling behind
We all have ways in which we like to work. Yet, a fact of modern business is that, if you are not collaborating, you are falling behind.
Which collaboration tools are you using to drive your business forward? Even if it took 2020 to belatedly bring you to the party, it is not too late to start enjoying the benefits and making your company better and more productive.